Life

‘Stranger Things’ Theory: Eleven Is Right, Eggos Are The Best


Part of the joy of binge-able TV shows is letting them consume you for a few days — allowing your brain to wander down rabbit holes and traverse a hyper-detailed landscape. Stranger Things is ace at this. It’s been the source of some of the best fan theories and “did you catch that” visual references since Breaking Bad. Is Eleven actually the monster? Maybe. Are those synths in the soundtrack as fresh as mountain strawberries? No doubt.

This morning, National Waffle Day, brings the hottest theory of them all. A theory that will not only revolutionize how we view the show, but also how we eat. It’s a testament to the Duffer brothers and their ability to deftly weave together delicate strands to form a complicated web.

Here it is:

Eggo waffles are the best breakfast food on earth.

Mind blown? Worldview expanded? Has your understanding of culture shifted? Because this theory is 100 percent on point.

I’ll break it down. I’ve written about food for a long time and sometimes feel territorial when people who haven’t been fully immersed in that world talk about it with authority (Jesus, do I hate it when people talk trash about ketchup as if it’s some accepted fact). But this is only because I have a delicate ego. In truth, it’s easy to write about food: eat a lot, figure out what you like, string together sentences about it. Eventually and inevitably, your palate will develop and you’ll have a better feel of nuance. Texture matters. Flavor profiles become a real thing that you can pick up on. Balance gains importance in “what you like” and you start to skew away from pure umami bombs.

For the most part, food is like sex — you can wax philosophic all day but there are only a handful of rankings needed:

  • I think I might be sick.
  • Lousy.
  • Could have been a lot better, but I’m still satisfied.
  • 7/10. I’d like to have this experience again.
  • Oh my god, I must tell everyone I meet about this! I wonder if my body will cooperate if I try to have more of this in 10 minutes!

Eggos deserves that last, ecstatic designation. They are the ultimate “back in the day” food because they’re still good when you’re no longer back in the day. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese can almost pull this off. Frozen burritos and Dino Nuggets fail miserably. No wonder Eggos were the brand Eleven chose to obsess over — Stranger Things is all about celebrating the best of our nostalgia while ignoring the worst of it.

You might think all frozen waffles are the same, but they aren’t. I hate the ultra-definitive attitude of the internet but I’m going to use all my ultra-definitive mojo right here: Eggos are the best of all frozen waffles. Their crunch, their flavor, and their appearance beats every brand out there by a mile. We don’t need a power ranking.

Why is this so? Here’s another theory for you:

My friend Matt de la Peña tells a story about his grandma. She made the best tortillas in the family; people marveled at them for years. The women who’d married into the family wanted to make tortillas just as good, and grandma obliged them by passing out the recipe. But it was never quite the same, and the wives had to endure their husbands raving about mama’s tortillas and sneaking by her house after work. One day, Matt’s grandma got very sick. Like a true matriarch, she called the entire family to her bedside for her last words. When everyone was assembled, she rolled over to face them, paused to gather herself and said, “I used lard.” Then closed her eyes and passed away peacefully.

Point being, every time I find a really good processed food — standing head and shoulders above the competition the way Eggos do — I think, “They used lard.” (Cooking, like food writing, is not always as complicated as people like to make it seem.)

But what about our original theory? Eggo Waffles are the best breakfast food on earth. How dare I say that in this bacon-dominated world?

Here’s how:

  • Thick cut bacon is pure bliss, but it needs assistance.
  • Pancakes are bomb but virtually never as good as you hoped.
  • Breakfast sausages that are finished with a dollop of syrup in the pan are little tubes of joy, save for the crushing guilt that comes with polishing off 12 of them over the course of a Sunday brunch.
  • All other breakfast meats are only championed by people who want to play the devil’s advocate. These are often the same people who think ketchup is certifiably awful.
  • Waffles made from scratch never get crunchy the way Eggos do (and their batter is never demonstrably better). I am a pretty good cook, I’ve trained with some really good cooks, and I’ve never had a waffle crisp up properly. Right now, I have three waffle irons in my apartment (and I barely own three pairs of pants) and I can’t get my waffles right no matter how hard I try.


Eggos, on the other hand, are crunchy every time. With a pad of butter and some Aunt Jemima Lite on top, the dish flies damn close to the sun. So there’s your Stranger Things theory of the day, friends. Eleven — who is probably the monster, and moves stuff with her mind, and has learned to love deeply even after being raised by Matthew Modine — is right about one thing most of all: her pick in breakfast.

If you follow Steve Bramucci on Twitter you’ll be part of a very rarefied group.

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